In my preview I predicted a 24-14 Vikings win and the final score did not end up too far off with the Vikings winning 25-16, but I did not expect the Vikings to pass the way they did. Two of the best pass defenses faced off in this one, but the Jaguars did not look like a good pass defense. The Vikings beat the Jags’ defense three times in this game. Vikings receivers somehow got wide open against a very good pass defense. The Jaguars just did not have an answer for the passing attack.
The success of the Vikings’ passing attack could be the result of the Jaguars not getting any pressure as they did not record a single sack in the entire game and could not get to Sam Bradford in the first half. The Jaguars only recorded two QB hits the entire game, which allowed Bradford had plenty of time to find receivers and he had Jerick McKinnon as a check down option when the Jaguars got pressure.
The Vikings had no run game as they rushed for only 85 yards in total, but they had a strong passing game. The Jaguars defense did get beat deep a couple of times, but they still had a good game. This included two goal line stops one of which resulted in a fumble recovered by Jacksonville.
They forced Bradford to throw the ball, but Bradford had a good game. He went 24/34 for 292 yards with 1 TD. This loss once again came down to the Jaguars offense not producing.
Once again the run game did not produce. TJ Yeldon rushed for only 59 yards on 17 carries. This offense desperately needs Chris Ivory back. Nathaniel Hackett did a better job at playcalling by calling more outside runs, but the offensive line could not block. I do not think the line is strong enough to block outside runs. They can provide good blocking for inside and straight up the middle runs, but Yeldon cannot do that. They need a power back for those runs. The run game is built around Ivory and when he is not there the run game struggles.
This loss cannot fall on Blake Bortles. He did not have a great game, but he had no protection. Most of his incompletions came from being pressured. The Vikings sacked him 4 times and hit him 7 times. The offensive line did not block for him. He had to hurry throws and could not allow for routes to develop like Bradford could. Bortles did not have anything to work with. He had to force long throws as the run game could not get going. The run game and offensive line are at fault for this loss, but the penalties did not help either.
The Jaguars had 14 penalties called against them for 114 yards. They had just about every penalty called against them. This included a false start, holding, illegal touching, unnecessary roughness, roughing the kicker, block in the back, facemask, and a delay of game on the kickoff team. The block in the back and false starts killed them. They had four different false starts called and three different block in the back. They gave the Vikings extra yards and put themselves farther back.
The discipline is just not there. This is a young team that is making a lot of rookie mistakes. The Jaguars will have to hire a more disciplined coach in the offseason because these penalties end up costing them the game. The run game not producing, the offensive line not blocking, and a lack of discipline cost the Jaguars this game. They could have won this game, but they simply did not perform to their capability.